I have few true idols in life. There are some that I look up to because of sage advice, some that I look up to because of their calibre in their field (whether it’s a field that interests me or not), and some that I look up to because of sheer badassery.
Carrie Fisher and Betty White are in the third category. Stan Lee is in the second. But today, I want to talk about a couple of idols of mine who always have words of wisdom when I am working on any art project. I can call on either or both of these men to tell me how to get through any artistic flub, block, or mishap.
I’m talking, of course, about Bob Ross and Tim Gunn.
Most people recognize Bob Ross the moment they see a picture of him. And yes, I realize he’s been dead for quite some time. In today’s media age, though, death less permanent than it may once have been. You see, Bob Ross doesn’t have to be alive to give me words of wisdom. He’s already given them to me–to millions, really.
Happy accidents. That’s right, fuck those mistakes. Make that errant brush stroke, that missed stitch, that “oopsie” into an intentional part of the work. Own it.
I’ve forgotten this advice at times. I get frustrated or upset at my mistakes, but at least in terms of art I can still hold my head high and be proud of whatever my happy accidents have wrought.
Tim Gunn is another art idol of mine–and while this one is living, he’s also someone I’ve neither met nor interacted with. So how does he give me advice?
He tells me to make it work.
How is that not inspiring? And for anyone who’s seen him on Project Runway, he doesn’t say it in a pushing, bossy, or degrading tone. Ever the gentleman, he says it in the classiest way possible.
Even when he’s not too sure about the work in progress that he sees, he’s still encouraging.
“Carry on.” He will tell you to carry on because he’s giving you the chance to prove him wrong.
“Happy accidents,” “Make it work,” and “Carry on.” Sage words from top men in the realms of art and fashion.
How can I use these words to get me through my daily life? Well, in healthcare, you can’t really make accidents happy. You can’t always make it work. But carrying on? Hmm… that one may require reinterpretation. Perhaps not interpreted as “carry on with the mistake that you’re making”–more like “carry on despite any mistakes”? I don’t know. They’re not my work idols, after all.
I think I might try to find (or design) some kind of embroidery that harnesses these three phrases, something I can hang in my house with pride.
Speaking of pride, my Laurel gave me the best compliment today after I told her about my latest “make it work moment”–She said Tim Gunn would be proud of me.
That was the boost I needed today.
So get out there. Make art. Make accidents. Make it work.
And carry on.